On the contrary I have myself expressly pointed out that what is understood by the term "liberalism" today, especially in Germany, stands in direct opposition to what the history of ideas must designate as "liberalism" because it constituted the essential content of the liberal program of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.Almost all who call themselves "liberals" today decline to profess themselves in favor of private ownership of the means of production and advocate measures partly socialist and partly interventionist. They seek to justify this on the ground that the essence of liberalism does not consist in adherence to the institution of private property, but in other things, and that these other things demand a further development of liberalism, so that it must today no longer advocate private ownership of the means of production but instead either socialism or interventionism.###As to just what these "other things" might be, these pseudo liberals have yet to enlighten us. We hear much about humanity, magnanimity, real freedom, etc. These are certainly very fine and noble sentiments, and everyone will readily subscribe to them. And, in fact, every ideology does subscribe to them. Every ideology — aside from a few cynical schools of thought — believes that it is championing humanity, magnanimity, real freedom, etc.What distinguishes one social doctrine from another is not the ultimate goal of universal human happiness, which they all aim at, but the way by which they seek to attain this end. The characteristic feature of liberalism is that it proposes to reach it by way of private ownership of the means of production.But terminological issues are, after all, of secondary importance. What counts is not the name, but the thing signified by it. However fanatical may be one's opposition to private property, one must still concede at least the possibility that someone may be in favor of it. And if one concedes this much, one will, of course, have to have some name to designate this school of thought.
Ludwig von Mises